Unlike previous claims that telecom regulators will allow carriers carry free nationwide roaming, TRAI has decided that the subscribers will now have to pay fixed fee for roaming. This plan will be implemented from 1 July and will be of some relief to partial operators who were earlier opposing the proposal of completely abolishing the roaming charges.
Currently, the subscribers are paying extra charges for making and receiving calls outside their own operating area. As reported by CNBC-TV18, the outgoing local call charges, while on roaming will now be charged at Rs 1.00 per minute from Rs 1.40 which was charged earlier. While outgoing STD charges are now capped at Rs 1.50 from previous Rs 2.40. Incoming calls on roaming are down to 75 paise/minute from Rs 1.75 and outgoing SMS will cost Re 1 for local and Rs 1.50 for National. As mentioned above these changes will be applicable from 1 July.
According to TRAI, “With increased subscribers and usage, the costs associated with national roaming have declined, but not vanished. There are still real costs incurred in providing the national roaming facility. Hence mandating a fully free roaming regime is simply not practicable at this juncture. Compelling a transition to a fully free national roaming regime would result in telecom service providers not being able to recover their costs from roamers.” This cost would then have been passed on to the other users, specifically non-roamers through higher tariffs.
TRAI, in addition has also made mandatory for the service providers to offer subscriber partially free roaming, or fully free roaming in lieu of payment of fixed charges. The new plan will provide reduced caps and free roaming facilities without giving any impact in the customers who do not use the roaming facility.